This post received more views than any other post I’ve written, from my previous blog and this one. . . so I thought I should repost here for your viewing.
[As a relatively new unemployed woman, I’ve been taking a very close look at my contribution to the home and husband as of late. I’ve been out of work now for seven months, which has effected our finances (and my pride). Years ago, it was common if not expected that a woman would leave the workforce upon marriage. In fact, I believe there were state laws or company laws around that concept, though I’ll need to research to make sure. . . . Note: I wrote this early last year, before Will was born and before steady freelance work began.]
Even though these are in English pounds, I believe the equivalent would be a touch more with the current monetary exchange. These findings from 2008 suggest that a housewife would bring in £36,000 a year, due to cooking, cleaning, laundry, tidying, childcare, taxi-ing, and maintaining family finances. (I’d have to add in catering, gardening, sewing, and decorating, considering that all of these are also done by the homemaker and could be professionally hired out positions.) You can look up the full article on the Free Library to see the break down of earnings.
According to a US Bureau of Labor statistics Employment and Earnings report (from wayback in 1995), the findings that have been compiled are quite a bit larger, so you can make your own assessment as to where you would fall in the income bracket.
This report suggests that a US housewife would be making over $120,000 a year for all her labor, which would include childcare worker, cook, driver, accountant, tutor, recreational planner, etc. It says that professional cooks make an average of $238 a week, and professional drivers around $362 a week, with bookkeeping topping these stats at $389 a week (oh, and this is back in 1995). You can see results from this report compiled here on the Smalley site. Once again, I believe a few important career titles have been left out of the mix, so the salary would be boosted in my opinion.
It is an interesting thought that home making is belittled here and there in our culture when there is clearly both monetary value and personalization in taking care of the home. I know a few wives going through the same “value” measuring place that I am, and I can say I’m standing behind my original post that being at home is an investment to our partners, the property and ourselves. I’m still figuring it out myself, but I’m here for the long haul.